Monday, 22 May 2017

Yes, but... No, but... You're asking the wrong question.

Growing up, I always felt a little bit out of place, stuck in perpetual monachopsis mainly due to the fact that I had two home countries. I was too Arubian to be Guatemalan, and too Guatemalan to be Arubian. Because of this, I often surprise people, either because they perceive contradictions in my personality or my least favorite one, “I didn't think you'd know that!”.

In any case, recently, one of the most interesting responses I've been getting is in regards to my religious beliefs. With strangers, it's usually just asking if I'm going to be a pastor when they find out I have a theology degree. But with acquaintances and new friends, I always get met with surprise.

I call myself an agnostic, mainly because to me it is the only honest philosophical position to hold regarding religion. I can have a pretty good general idea of how I think it seems things are, but at any given moment, something can happen and I want to be willing to re-assess my beliefs when confronted with new information. That aside, when asked if I am a Christian I would 8/10 say yes. Why not 10/10?

Back in university, one of my favorite lecturers was Dr. Tuladhar. He taught us that in an exam, there would never be yes or no answers. That the best answers would be “yes, but”, “no, but”, and “this is the wrong question to ask”. And this is mainly why, sometimes, instead of “yes, but” I end up going with “no, but”.
My answer is yes, I am a Christian but I am not part of any denomination, I don't attend a church nor follow any organized worshiping. You could say I am an anarchist Christian, but I'm not sure on that yet, and honestly, I am a philosopher so I will probably be unsure of exactly what kind of Christian I am until the day I die or our Lord returns.

No, I'm not a Christian but I actually do believe in Jesus, what he stood for and what he was trying to do. The Bible has actually a really cool story and you can learn a lot, and Jesus was wise and had a poetic streak and a bit of sass. I'm here for all of that.

This is the wrong question to ask because these days, the word Christian has been charged with too much meaning and distortion, and there is too much attached to it beyond the original “follower of Jesus Christ”. It now carries a meaning of judging, meddling, corrupting and being corrupt, elitism, hypocrisy. Calling yourself a Christian nowadays will more often than not be heard as “I am on the right path, and I will be saved and live in the gorgeous rich new world with God while you burn in hell, because I am good and you are bad”, and honestly, I don't think this is what Jesus was trying to do at all.
It's so hard to even try to live in society while being a good person, and we're all sinners and don't deserve to go to the new earth with God and that sucks. But actually Jesus is trying to help us by giving tips on how to not be an asshole, and anyway we should show mercy and forgiveness to one another because we sure hope Jesus will show us mercy and forgiveness if there is an afterworld.
That's where I stand.
So my feelings where floored when a past romantic interest asked, incredulously, “how can someone as smart as you believe in that!?”

I don't want to preach. I don't want you to be a Christian, or read the Bible, or do anything. One thing I do believe is that each person is on their own path, learning what they need to learn, and I can't presume to know what is best for them.
Perhaps the best way to bring everyone to God is not by religiously converting them, but by showing them the way through example. Don't force people to say the words, just quietly show them how to live the life. Sort of like being a living gospel. You know, kinda like how Jesus did it.

No comments:

Post a Comment